Takin ( National Animal of Bhutan)

Takin known as 'Dong Gyem Tsey' in National Language of Bhutan has been diligently chosen as the National Animal of Bhutan because it is unique, rare and native to Bhutan. It is closely associated to religious history and mythology of the country. It seems like an assembly of assorted animals and perhaps, this is the reason, that a strange story regarding its origins is popular in Bhutan. It is said that Lama Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as the Divine Madman, went to Bhutan in the 15th century to attend a large congregation of devotees that had gathered from all over Bhutan to receive a blessing from another Saint. His unorthodox and outrageous ways soon made him unpopular with the group of the religious-minded people there and they started mocking him and provoking him to show his magical powers or a miracle.

Lama Drukpa Kuenley
It is said that the Lama Drukpa Kunley was a traveller popularly known as the divine madman, which might be a name that makes you thankful he isn’t accompanying you in Bhutan trekking! He came to Bhutan in the 15th century, to attend a large congregation of devotees that had come together from all over Bhutan to hear another saint speaking. His unorthodox and outrageous manner made him unpopular with the gathering, and they began provoking him and demanding he show them an example of the magical powers he was boasting about.

Undisturbed by their reaction, Kunley the Divine Madman was soon to prove exactly how he’d acquired such a colourful moniker. He sat down, and demanded a whole cow and goat for lunch. He relished the meat, and devoured the entire animals, leaving only their bones remaining. It can only be imagined how far he must have travelled through Bhutan trekking to make him so hungry. In some retellings, he finished the meal with a mighty burp of satisfaction. As if this extraordinary appetite wasn’t miraculous enough, he then placed the goats head with the cow’s bones, and snapped his fingers, commanding the beast to rise up and graze on the slopes of the mountains! The strange beast immediately rose up and did as it was bidden,                            leaving the onlookers shocked and astonished

takin grazing
The takin's nearest relative is the arctic musk ox, but this bizarre looking creature seems to have been and assembled from a variety of zoological sources

Takin stand 100 to 130 cm (39 to 51 in) at the shoulder and weigh up to 350 kg (770 lb). They are covered in a thick golden wool which turns black on the under-belly. Both sexes have small horns which run parallel to the skull and then turn upwards in a short point, these are around 30 cm (12 in) long.The takin has an unusual appearance, and has been likened to a ‘bee-stung moose’ because of its odd facial shape, which looks almost to be a swollen grimace of pain! They are, however, covered in thick golden wool, which turns black on their underbellies, giving them a truly unique appearance. It’s no wonder stories have sprung up in the country surrounding their origin.
Although their origins are shrouded in myth and legend, the takin can actually be spotted if you keep a sharp eye out on your Bhutan trekking adventure. There are more than 1,000 takin living in the Jigme Dorje National Park, and other areas of Bhutan. The takin are sure footed creatures, and will often migrate up to sub-alpine forests and meadows above 3,700m to escape leeches, horseflies, mosquitoes, and other parasites of the monsoon season in the lower valleys. While many takin live at high altitudes, a few of these creatures can also be seen living at the zoo on Sangaygan in Thimphu. Luckily, since they are an endangered species, and the National Animal of Bhutan, the law bans takin from being hunted. Poaching isn’t as great an issue as with other endangered species across the globe, as their body parts don’t have any significant value.

Leave a Reply.